Collective choice and social welfare: Considerations for Indigenous Australians

Sue Green, Richard Hugman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Looking again at Sen’s work, we might wonder why he is not discussed more in the fields of social work, health and human services, other than those areas that are concerned with social development.1 That the structure of Sen’s arguments is grounded in the traditions of‘mathematical economics’ (2017, vii), might be part of it–many professionals in human services have limited mathematical knowledge or skills. Moreover, he writes in the broadly Utilitarian framework, so that even his discussion of human rights draws on Bentham, Smith, Pareto, Arrow, Rawls and so on (Sen 2017, chapter A5), while professions such as social work and human services often ground their understanding of (social) justice in assumptions about the primacy of human rights: justice is achieved when access to human rights is equitably distributed (e.g. Lundy 2011). Yet, the core theories and concepts that Sen has provided raise significant questions for social welfare practice and policy, even if in his discussions these theories and concepts are highly generalised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-406
Number of pages7
JournalEthics & Social Welfare
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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